While some insist that this blog only bashes Latino politicians, I would like to think that we are holding them accountable. One politician that we have “cheered on” for her positive work is Representative Hilda Solis (D-CA), a tireless advocate of working Americans.
The NY Times had a decent opinion piece from a few days ago about the labor agenda in the next administration. Essentially, Hilda Solis will have a unique opportunity to make good on some of President-Elect Obama’s promises to working families. The Employee Free Choice Act is one piece of legislation that Solis has been supportive of, which would allow workers to more easily unionize.
This particular part of the editorial struck me:
“The argument against unions — that they unduly burden employers with unreasonable demands — is one that corporate America makes in good times and bad, so the recession by itself is not an excuse to avoid pushing the bill next year. The real issue is whether enhanced unionizing would worsen the recession, and there is no evidence that it would.
There is a strong argument that the slack labor market of a recession actually makes unions all the more important. Without a united front, workers will have even less bargaining power in the recession than they had during the growth years of this decade, when they largely failed to get raises even as productivity and profits soared. If pay continues to lag, it will only prolong the downturn by inhibiting spending.”
Blogger Ezra Klein also referenced this part of the article, and further expounded the following:
“I’d only add that the last great leap forward for unions was during World War II, and the last great expansion of the American middle class followed in its aftermath. In contrast, the most recent expansions — which have largely occurred in the absence of unions — have benefited America’s rich.”
Increased worker productivity since the Reagan years has not corresponded with increased worker’s wages, while CEO and executive pay has gone through the roof. Unionization also balances corporate power. Solis, coming from a union family, which enabled her to earn a college education understands this.
I should also note that Senator Kennedy, who has honored Rep. Solis with a Profile in Courage Award in 2000, has already schedule the confirmation hearing for the Secretary of Labor nominee. Senator Kennedy also released the following statement regarding Hilda Solis today:
“She’s a tireless champion for working families. She understands the struggles that millions of Americans are facing, and she’ll be an invaluable asset to President Obama in protecting workers’ rights and restoring economic opportunity. I look forward very much to working with her on these critical issues in her new position.”